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Glass Half Full

August 4, 2020 | By John Cumbelich

Setbacks. Trials. Disappointments.  As we digest the manifold challenges facing our families, businesses, schools and communities, athletes offer a valuable lesson for a time of trials. Athletes and sports leagues have been much in the news of late, navigating their way, like the rest of us, through the myriad of challenges besetting the economy and nation.

We often marvel at our athletic heroes, whose talents, competitiveness and resilience are frequently a source of both inspiration and instruction. While we may be tempted to credit the athlete’s success to genetic advantages of size or speed, every successful coach or athlete will attest that their achievements are the result of hard work, dedication and a fighting spirit. Not only does every successful athlete encounter loss, pain, sweat, tears and obstacles, they will tell you that these relentless challenges are their most reliable pathways to success.

Champions, those whose work stands the test of time, illustrate to us how there are no shortcuts to lasting success. The great ones have trained themselves to seize every challenge head on, indeed to seek them out. They welcome the adversity before them and keep on fighting, no matter how many times they are knocked down. They teach us how winning is not a result, but a way of life.

In our business lives, a mighty foe has risen, one that threatens the mastery we felt that we had over our craft and our careers. As our industry shudders and shifts, as businesses flop and the media howls, our heroes remind us that the hurdles that have arisen in our business lives are nothing less than opportunities to get better at what we do – these are our pathways to success.

It’s smart people that win in the long run, and now is a time for thinking, or re-thinking how we approach our industry, our customers, partners and clients. The rules of the game are being rewritten daily in our business, clearing the way for new leaders like you and me to chart a path that sees a glass that is half full, and reimagines and then rebuilds a broad new road to prosperity.

Chaos breeds opportunity in every marketplace. The dispassionate and seasoned real estate investor knows in his bones how a window is now opening to play offense, while others play defense. The smart service firm CEO understands that the current disruption is an opportunity to differentiate itself as a leader, and add market share that will bear fruit as the market stabilizes and reboots.

If you are of my vintage, you’ve just started to play the fourth quarter of the game in your career. Until recently, the scoreboard was looking pretty good – but the game has suddenly changed rather dramatically. One thing I know for certain is that the game will be played very differently in the fourth quarter than it was in the first three. And I’m ready to grasp hold of that challenge and partner with clients and coworkers to re-think what we do in commercial real estate. We are already aggressively setting about studying who is winning, where the opportunities are, and who is going to lead the way in this paradigm shift. While the media is fixated on the losers, our focus is on the new and emerging winners.

We are going to collaborate, listen, teach, learn and grow. And yes we are going to stumble and fall. But hard work, dedication and a fighting spirit are not the inheritance of athletes alone, but of champions in every arena. Let’s embrace the new challenges in our business lives and let them become our pathways to success.